Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse expand relationship

US electronics retailer builds stake in Carphone as Geek Squad joint venture is set for expansion in the UK.

Best Buy, the US electronics retailer, has revealed plans to extend its presence in the UK. The technology giant has spent the last four months quietly acquiring a three per cent stake in mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse.

While that may seem like a modest amount, Best Buy hopes its 91.5 million stake in Carphone will be another step towards cementing a transatlantic relationship. Carphone Warehouse made the first move towards a partnership last year, undertaking a plan to open upwards of 150 Carphone Warehouse concessions inside Best Buy stores in the US.

In exchange, Carphone Warehouse has begun to import Best Buy's 'Geek Squad', a group of individuals experienced in helping consumers install and use anything hi-tech. The squad is hugely successful in US markets, and are already available for round the clock house calls in Greater London and parts of the South East, with plans to expand coverage into other cities across the UK.

In response to the news of Best Buy's stock purchase and plans for strengthening their partnership, the US retailers stock rose six per cent. Carphone Warehouse saw their shares increase by five per cent. While Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse stated in a press release that they "maintain a private company mentality when it comes to investment and growth," he admits there is excitement for future joint opportunities.

Best Buy is known for heavy discounting of electronics such as computers, games consoles and phones in the US, and the prospect of a Best Buy outpost arriving in the UK is likely to be good news for both consumer and business PC buyers, but bad news for the likes of DSG's PC World, the closest British competitor to Best Buy.

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